Self Storage Do's and Don'ts

Published on 3/2/2020
self storage do's and don'ts
When you're looking to rent a storage unit for your belongings, your primary concern is likely the safety of those items while in storage. Safety also includes preserving the current condition of those items so they don't deteriorate, which typically happens due to changes in temperature and humidity.  For example, oil paintings must be completely dry for a year or longer before you consider storing them, and when you do they should be kept at 70-76 degrees and between 40-50% relative humidity, and this is only possible in a good climate-controlled storage facility.

Before you decide to store your things, determine whether or not your belongings require special care, and if so a climate-controlled unit may be necessary.

What You Should Not Put in a Storage Unit...

  • Gas & Other Toxins - Gasoline, aerosol spray cans, propane tanks, paint cans, vehicle batteries, pesticides, hairspray, etc.  These items can explode if they get to hot.
  • Candles & Scented Items - The scents and fragrances will permeate through cardboard boxes and into fabric materials, such as your clothes and furniture.  Bugs and rodents are also very attracted to scented items!
  • Ammunition/Explosives - It is ILLEGAL to store ammunition and explosives in most states, and it is strictly forbidden at our facility too.  If a unit overheats with these dangerous items in it, you can imagine the damage that could happen if ignited!
  • Food and Drinks - Another great way to attract bugs and rodents is by keeping food in your storage unit, so just don't do it.  Even canned food over time can go bad, so we don't recommend storing them.

What to Store in a Climate Controlled Storage Unit...

  • Artwork - Temperature and humidity fluctuations can cause canvas sagging, paint cracking, sunspots, discoloration, and damage to the frames.  
  • Glass & Fragile Items - Large temperature swings can crack glass and even porcelain items.
  • Clothing & Carpets - Too much humidity can provide conditions where mold & mildew can grow. If you store these items in non-climate controlled units, make sure they're in a plastic air-tight bag or container.
  • Books & Paper Documents - Same issues here as with clothing and carpets, so protect these items accordingly.
  • Electronic Items - Heat and humidity can destroy electrical components and cause batteries and memory cards/hard drives to fail.
  • Wood - Same issues here as with clothing and paper documents.  Wood can crack and swell with temperature changes and it's a great food for mold and mildew to grow on.
  • Leather - Extreme temperatures can crack leather and discolor the material.  Mold and mildew can also grow on it.
  • Coins - If you collect coins, know that humidity will cause oxidation of the zinc or copper metals. Any collectible items should be kept in a climate-controlled atmosphere.
  • Musical Instruments - You MUST keep instruments in climate-controlled units. If you don’t, wind instrument strings snap or lose their ability to be tuned. Metal instruments will corrode and build bacteria as the rubber, cork, and felt decay.
  • Photos - Nothing will ruin pictures faster than throwing them in a box in a hot unit. Prints will stick together and bubble. If it is humid in the unit, they will also bend.
If you're not sure what to do with a particular item, feel free to give us a call and ask!  812-308-4544 (press 2)  We're always happy to help!